Speaking a different language can be a very stressful situation. Nervousness and anxiety can be a psychological barrier, which prevents us from speaking. The only way to break this barrier is to expose yourself to uncomfortable situation, where you are challenging your confidence. Only through this repeating process you get more confident in speaking a different language. For example there are three easy steps to follow.
get on a plane.
go to any destination where the language is spoken
Surround yourself only with people who speak this language.
Okay… maybe this is not that easy with all the responsibilities you have, but you get the point. Another way to look at confidence is the right mindset. By acquiring the right mindset you automatically feel more confident. To acquire the right mindest you should keep three things in mind:
1. What‘s the worst thing that could happen?
Really… what can the worst thing be when making a mistake in a foreign language? Mistakes won‘t harm you they are a natural process of learning. Even native speakers are constantly making mistakes, but most mistakes are overheard because of his or her confidence.
2. Look at the funny side!
Laugh. Isn‘t it funny that someone expresses himself like a 5 year old rather than an adult. Don‘t take your mistakes too serious.
Smiling automatically relaxes you so why not do it if you feel nervous. Also a smile can make the other person feel much more comfortable talking to you and therefore you are more likely to have better conversations.
So let‘s revisit mistakes. In school we were taught that they were a bad thing. Each mistake meant a point lost and therefore a worse grate. But mistakes are actually a good thing. They show you where you need more improvement. So rather than saying that the glass is half empty say it is half full. However to use mistakes to your advantage you need to understand the two main types of mistakes:
Slips are very natural. It happens when your mouth is faster than your brain. Which means that you actually know what you should have said, but instead the wrong words cam out. Nothing to worry about!
Now knowledge gaps is the important category to improve your speaking. They are unavoidable. You simply don‘t know the right words or grammar to express yourself. This is a great sign to you that you should stop your course and revisit an older topic so you can fill the gap. If this is too boring to you the other way would be to regularly put yourself in a situation which requires you to passively review your knowledge gaps. Additionally this method helps to prevent slips as you get more and more confident.